The Wrong Prints: Man Arrested for a Robbery he Didn’t Commit


Dwight Gomas spent 17 months in jail in New York awaiting trial for a robbery he didn’t commit before detectives discovered that his fingerprints didn’t match crime scene evidence. He was set free after the error was uncovered and recently settled a lawsuit against the city for $145,000.

A New York detective conducting a routine review of crime scene evidence discovered that fingerprints allegedly tying the Georgia native to the robbery were actually not a match. Gomas was more than 800 miles away, in Atlanta, when the crime happened.

“It’s just a nightmare knowing that someone that’s innocent can be picked up off the street and held,” Gomas said in court papers. “That scares me now. It’s like I’m walking on eggshells. I try to cover my tracks for everywhere I go.”

Read the full story

. (New York Daily News, 9/3/09)

Another man,

Stephan Cowans

, spent more than five years in Massachusetts prisons after a false fingerprint match led to his conviction for a crime he didn’t commit. A report from the National Academy of Sciences released this year found that fingerprint analysis was among the forensic disciplines that has not “been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainly, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.” Learn more about the NAS report and recommendations for federal forensic reform at

the Just Science Coalition website


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